David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, was suffering from the coronavirus before dying Sunday at age 85, his daughter said in a report.
“It’s horrible that COVID restrictions meant we did not get to see him and say goodbye,” the late actor’s daughter Rachel, 50, told The Sun.
“But when we went to collect his stuff from the hospital, the nurse said what a cool guy he was. He was such a larger-than-life character. He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter,” she added.
Rachel also confirmed that her dad — a 6-foot-6 former bodybuilder — had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and spent two weeks in a London hospital with COVID-19, according to the news outlet.
“He might have looked quite scary but as a person he was a sweet, kind and generous man,” his daughter said. “He really was a gentle giant. And to us he was our dad.”
Meanwhile, actor Mark Hamill, who portrayed Luke Skywalker in the space saga, took to Twitter to remember Prowse.
“So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man and much more than Darth Vader,” Hamill wrote. “Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire – 3 time British Weightlifting Champion and Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”
Creator George Lucas also posted a touching tribute to the late actor on StarWars.com.
“David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character,” Lucas wrote.
“He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence,” he continued.
“David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace,” Lucas added.